My current cross stitch work-in-progress is from a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, one of my favorite artists. I admire the way she looks deeply into a flower. She finds so much to be seen and reveals it so intimately. This one is “Red Canna.” As you can see from the imprint on the fabric, at this stage of the project, I’m using a round hoop. The (removable) tapes key the penciled grid spaces.
Here is a print of O’Keeffe’s original painting.
The chart I’m using simplifies the work somewhat but preserves enough of it to make me happy. I’m enjoying working with the bright colors, although I have to say that no thread color is quite as vibrant as O’Keeffe’s work. Other than that, I’m happy with the project.
Eye surgery. I use a very bright magnifying lamp for needlework, but even so, I’d been having some eye issues that were clouding (so to speak) my enjoyment. Off to the eye doc I went: diagnosis, cataracts. Quite natural, I’m told, especially for people who have spent a lot of time outdoors, as I have. The lens in my right eye was replaced a few weeks ago. I’m delighted to report that the surgery went well, the new lens is a big success. At distance, I can see better without my glasses than with them. I’ll have the other lens replaced in September.
On the writing desk. Hemlock (China Bayles #28) went off to the printer last week. It’s scheduled for publication the first week of September. Please tell your librarian that it’s on the way, It’s available in hardcover for libraries; paperback, hardcover, ebook, and audio for everybody else. I have a new cover artist–love the cover she produced for this book.
I’m working on the last couple of chapters of a new Dahlias project, The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker. It’s set in 1935, which turns out to be a pivotal year in many ways. I’m always struck by the similarity between the Depression era and our own times: 1935 holds many startling (even scary) parallels–especially in politics. You should have this book in April or May 2022.
As I wrap up a writing project, I always start thinking about the next one. There are usually a dozen possibilities and choosing where to put my energies next makes for some interesting explorations. I’ve just finished reading The Life She Wished to Live, the new (and truly excellent) biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, by Ann McCutchen. For years, I’ve thought about writing a novel about Rawlings (the author of The Yearling). But there wasn’t a fully reliable biography about her on which I could base fiction–and now there is. (If I’m writing about a real person, I want to make the fiction real.) As some of you know, I’ve also thought long about Georgia O’Keeffe, especially about that wonderful house in Abiquiu, which was such an important part of her life. And there’s a possible spinoff from the research I did on Elizabeth Blackwell, the 18th-century herbalist who is a central character in Hemlock and whose life is such a tantalizing mystery.
Lots of possibilities, all interesting, each quite different and exciting in its own way. It’s hard to choose where to put energy and time. But that’s what keeps us moving forward, isn’t it? Choosing where to spend our time (always limited, often in ways we don’t anticipate) and our creative passion (limited too, by forces outside of our control).
Where to go next? What to choose? What do I love enough to spend time–months, a year, more–and energy with it? Big questions. Big choice.
Reading note. When you make a choice, you change the future.― Deepak Chopra